Caesar Salad

Salad, that is. I know the Ides have passed, but that doesn’t make this salad any less tasty. Plus, it’s another easy recipe that is sure to impress even the most mentally-deficient of your friends. After all, we Italians are always impressive.

So prepare yourselves, earthlings! You’re about to be singing my praises to a chorus of “wham, bam, thank you ma’am.”
As a disclaimer, this dressing may not include raw egg, but it does include the little fishy known as anchovy. So be aware of that before you serve it to your shellfish-challenged friends. You might also want to steer clear of this if you have a romantic evening planned, because you won’t be getting any sugar with this on your palate. No one likes garlic-fish-face.
Here is what you’ll need:
3 cloves garlic or one small shallot (use the shallot if you want a less intense flavor than the raw garlic)
1 T anchovy paste or chopped fillets
1-2 T lemon juice
1-2 t dijon mustard
1/4 c good olive oil
2 large heads romaine lettuce, washed, chopped, and dried
1 cup shredded parm (don’t be lame and get the pre-shredded crap that tastes like cardboard. Get out the box shredder and put your back into it like you’re at a seventh-grade dance that’s pumping Juvenile).
Home-made croutons (recipe follows)
Put the lettuce in your fancy salad bowl with the chez (that’s French for “cheese”. I don’t actually know if that’s true, but it sounds cooler). Set aside.
Mince the garlic and mix in a small bowl with the anchovies, lemon juice, and mustard. Whisking constantly, add the olive oil in slow stream.
Toss the dressing into the salad, adding more olive oil if the salad looks dry. Throw on the croutons (after eating several, just to make sure they’re not poisoned) and taste test.
I don’t add salt in this one because of the high content in the anchovies and cheese, but to each their own (you’re the one who’s going to end up with high-blood pressure, but go ahead!).
Any bread you want that’s not a dumb choice. To clarify:
Dumb: Rye, anything with fruit in it, Cinnamon Bread, the 37-day old loaf that has mold on it and can’t even be sawed into smaller chunks that’s still (for some reason) sitting on your counter, or anything sweet.
Tasty: Most sliced breads (whole wheat, white, fiber-filled, etc), day-old loaves or baguettes, challah, etc
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
I don’t know why people find croutons so intimidating. It’s BREAD. Bread that’s already made and you’re basically toasting it.
Sure, toasters can be a little frightening. Sort of like Barney or a giant dust bunny.
Cube the bread into bite-sized pieces. People tend to go too big with croutons and end up trying to wrap their mouthes around a crispy hunk of bread that is roughly the size of a small boulder. Aim for 3/4 inch square pieces.
If you’re using the spray kind of olive oil then you are on the road to Easyville. Put the croutons in a bowl and spray lightly with the oil until they shine just a tad. 2-3 second spray, shake the croutons around to coat evenly, then spray again. If you’re using a bottle of oil, stream about 2 T into the bowl as your other hand shakes it around. The spray helps distribute the oil evenly, so it’s a nice investment.
Shake some S + P over the croutons and pour onto a baking tray. Bake at 400, stirring every few minutes, until desired brown-ness: about 5-10 minutes.
Make sure you make a big batch, because people flock to the kitchen as soon as they smell this delicious treat. By “people”, I mean me. Mmmmm carbs.
You can also get crafty and add your favorite spice or herb: rosemary, cayenne, cumin, chili flakes. You can even press some garlic and toss it with the oiled croutons.

As usual: NOM!